Multilateral agreements between governments bring to mind high-level meetings, international diplomacy and national policy setting. CITES is a result of all of these, but there is something more: the Convention affects people in their daily activities, and, as a decision-maker in the trade chain, the public is a major stakeholder in the regulatory process. If the public does not understand or support the Convention, this makes the task of implementing CITES much more difficult and this, in turn, affects the effectiveness of the Convention.
The individual actions of consumers are important. Any informed decision to purchase or not wild animals or plants or items made from them requires the public to have accurate information on applicable laws (and specifically whether buying or possessing the specimen or product in question is lawful), and on conservation impact (e.g. whether the trade is environmentally sustainable or detrimental). All too often, the popular \u2018don\u2019t buy\u2019 campaigns do not adequately distinguish between illegal and legal trade. They also blur the distinction between truly endangered species, in which commercial trade is
generally prohibited, and the vast majority of CITES- listed species in which commercial trade is authorized. Such campaigns do not provide consumers with enough information on which to make balanced and informed decisions, tend rather to simplify complex management issues and overtly or covertly promote a generic \u2018trade is bad\u2019 message. This is clearly not in line with the trade provisions of the Convention. When overly broad, the \u2018don\u2019t buy\u2019 campaigns undermine legitimate trade that provides financial incentives for species protection and sustainable resource management, and they negatively impact on the livelihoods of communities.
This edition ofCITES World examines the difficulty that all Parties face in trying to explain in simple terms a convention such as CITES. In this edition, Australia, China (Hong Kong SAR), Italy, New Zealand, Slovenia, the United Arab Emirates and the United States of America share their experiences and examples in this regard, and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums provides insights on how zoos promote a greater understanding of CITES. The Secretary-General notes that CITES should be simple, but has been made exceedingly complex in its 30-year history through the adoption of resolutions, decisions and stricter domestic measures.
This edition is also the first all-electronic version of the official newsletter of the Parties. In its financial deliberations at its 13th meeting (Bangkok, 2004), the Conference of the Parties opted to redirect the budget for printing the newsletter to other purposes.
e-publications, and we will adapt the format in future editions to be more easily read from a computer screen. As there are no longer any printing production schedules and printing and mailing costs, we are examining how we might increase the number of editions and change from the July/December publication schedule to a more frequent and flexible delivery that better reflects events on the CITES calendar. We do strive to meet the needs of the Parties, and suggestions on the development of the newsletter are most welcome.
Australia, China (Hong Kong SAR), Italy, New Zealand, Slovenia, the United Arab Emirates and the United States of America share their experiences of explaining CITES to the public
During 2005 the Italian Management Authority promoted important initiatives to explain CITES to wider audiences and to increase public awareness.
departure gates of the International Airport \u2018Roma Fiumicino\u2019. Two large panels written in Italian and English have been placed at the entrance hall of the airport to show some basic information about CITES and, above all, to draw the attention of the public to the possibility of transporting animals or plants illegally.
Small guides are also available for tourists at the same location. These contain a short description and introduction to CITES and an overview of CITES souvenirs from the main tourist destinations. They also give examples of cases where permits are required, the consequences of not having the proper CITES documents and some of the CITES specimens that are the most commonly confiscated. Finally the guide includes the details of the Management Authorities of the States it refers to and comprises a short section with games for children.
The display is enriched by the projection of video showing images of the illegal capture, collection and transport of CITES animal and plants. There is also a permanent exhibition of seized specimens to draw the public\u2019s attention to the display.
The exhibition consists of different seized CITES specimens displayed in showcases and focuses on the illegal capture and collection of and trade in specimens and, on the way in which this can affect the global conservation of biodiversity.
The display aims to inform and create a greater awareness of the link between the millions of live specimens that are \u2018stolen\u2019 from nature every year for the pet market, fur traders, plant nurseries and the timber industry, and the threat that this represents for nature conservation.
Even though this display is open to the wider public, it targets particularly students and teachers of primary and secondary schools. To this purpose an \u2018educational kit\u2019 has been produced, consisting of small suitcases containing all kinds of educational material (e.g. puzzles, drawings, games with animals and plants) that are given every time a school visits the display.
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In the 1970s, the great oil boom brought huge prosperity to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Since then, the UAE, which signed and joined CITES in 1990, has been characterized by the uniqueness of a multicultural and multilingual society. In the Emirate of Dubai alone, people from over 100 nationalities have come to call it home. With different languages, educational backgrounds, traditions, views and cultures, this makes any awareness campaign a challenging task.
The UAE CITES Management Authorities, Scientific Authorities and UAE governmental agencies have taken this aspect into consideration when designing awareness-raising material and programmes for the general public.
To build capacity among employees involved in combating illegal trade, the authorities organized several workshops and training courses, in cooperation with the CITES Secretariat. One of the workshops targeted Customs officials while another focused on municipality officials and employees of the Management and Scientific Authorities. Moreover, a \u2018Training of the trainers\u2019 workshop was organized which led to the certification of four trainers. One of the trainers then went on to conduct a three-day training workshop for North African Arab-Speaking Parties in Rabat, Morocco. The workshop proceedings were produced in Arabic and English on a CD-ROM and distributed so that other
governmental departments in the UAE and the rest of the Arab world may benefit from it. Additionally awareness presentations have been delivered to university and school students as well as to pet-shop owners.
Authorities have ensured that several UAE governmental websites carry information about CITES and promote awareness, e.g. those of the Environment Agency: Abu Dhabi (www.ead.ae); Federal Environment Agency (www.fea.gov.ae); and a general informational website (www.uae.gov.ae/uaeagricent).
One of the first steps the authorities took was to develop an identification manual to allow government agencies to get more involved in the fight against illegal trade in wildlife.
This manual is comprehensive yet simple. It is aimed at non-experts in the field such as pet-shop employees and entry-point officers. The fact that it avoids technical jargon as much as possible and explains the various Appendices has helped facilitate the implementation of an often complex convention. It has also helped raise awareness of the species covered by the Convention that are commonly traded in the UAE. It carries interesting facts on both CITES and non-CITES native species that are threatened and endangered in the UAE. In addition to the scientific and English name, the manual also lists the Arabic name. Authorities in the UAE firmly believe that awareness plays a key role in wildlife conservation and therefore places great importance on producing publications such as this manual.
Other publications that have been produced include a flyer on falconry, which contains information about purchasing new falcons, releasing falcons back into the wild, sending them abroad for breeding, hunting trips using falcons, registering falcons, and the procedure to follow to acquire a certificate of ownership (falcon passport).
Authorities in the UAE have been keen to participate in the annual International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition. They have thus promoted awareness of CITES since 2002. With the exhibition mainly frequented by falconers from the UAE and the surrounding region, the authorities are able to address their target audience in one venue and to raise
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